Michael’s Run 5k Done!

michaels run courseIn 2009 a neighbor said we should sign up for the Michael’s Run 5k. It is right in town. The course goes right past our neighborhood. And it is a good cause. I should have known this was a bad idea when the promotion for the race talked about how the challenge of an uphill course mirrors the challenges of those with disabilities and the people that love and care for them. True to form, I spent more time walking than running and finished the race in about 45 minutes.

Fast forward to today. I’d been seeing signs up all around my town for weeks. I knew I could run it this time, even if slow. I just had bad memories of the first time when I had no business running that course. But, it was Saturday and unless I wanted to get up really early for my run to avoid the race, I might as well join in. So, I rolled out of bed, threw on my running gear, popped a piece of toast in my mouth and walked up with Tom to the town commons to register and race.

micheals run setting watch 2017Tom had no desire to run this race. Just going up out of our neighborhood is enough for him. Honestly, it is all mental, he could have done this. But, having him sit this one out and cheer me on was nice. Camera in hand and words of encouragement, it kept me in the game to do my best.

I won’t go through the play-by-play, but I knew I was doing pretty well. A little tightness at the beginning and then it was a lot easier to get in the zone. I had my pace people, I knew the course as I run it in sections one direction or another depending on the day, and the day was gorgeous. Checking my watch a few times I could see I was in my speedier zone which just added fuel to my run.

Well, for an old lady, I did pretty well. I surprised myself a bit in the fact that it was still one of my harder runs because of the hill and I was feeling pretty good except for a small section at 5% grade toward the end. Tom has a picture of this (I waved as I passed by) but he hasn’t shown me. I must look pretty bad! Anyway, here are my results:michaels run finish line 2017

  • I ran the 5K in under 30 minutes – 29:25, so I’m officially in the club for over 40.
  • Average pace 9:28 – PB for a 5 K and still pretty close to my overall PB of 9:21 on a less challenging course.
  • My watch shows that even in the evil uphill I paced at 9:41 – 20 seconds under what I normally do heading out of my neighborhood.
  • The best part? I made top 10 for my age group at number 6!!!!!

Top 10 Age Michaels Run

The end to the story is that I celebrated at Bittersweet with a hot cider and quiche. I think this is becoming my thing!

after race

(a bit of a sourpuss face as I was done with Tom taking pictures and I was really in need of food!)

 

 

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5k Personal Best – Woo Hoo!

Today was race day. And, it was for a great cause. Live 4 Evan is a foundation that helps out families and children with congenital heart disease. Each year they have a 5k run and fun festival to raise awareness and funds.

Tom woke me up at 7:15a by patting my face with our cat’s paw. Not a bad way to rise if you ask me. But, I am still not much of a morning person and went into robot mode of getting myself together and slowly becoming human. When we left the house to make it over to registration for 8:30a, I was just starting to feel like myself and the race jitters started to kick in.

As Tom and I walked toward the starting line area and then hung out stretching (Tom) and people watching (me), the jitters kicked in. What if I hit the wall on the hill at 2 miles? What if I pace myself to faster runners? What if my knee decides to tinge? What if….

At some point it didn’t matter anymore. Everyone lined up at their designated signs.  Tom stepped up to the 8 min mile section while I hung towards the back of the 9 min mile group and closer to the walker group. I popped in my headphones, set my music to play, and readied my watch to track my run. The horn blew and the pack began to move, slowly at first, and then faster as we all started to cross the starting line.

It was a brief uphill from the park where we started to the main road. I felt strong and confident moving to the outside and easily passing some of the other runners in my group without over exerting myself. The first mile was a gradual downhill and I opened my stride and used the time to my advantage knowing mile two was going to s**k. I continued to move past more and more runners building my confidence even as other faster runners were also moving past me. Pace from my Apple Watch: 9:20

Mile two was the killer as I thought. The first part heading in was actually not too bad. I continued to move past a few other runners and saw some runners that over did it in mile 1 start to slow or walk. I found a couple women that seemed to be similar in pace to me and used them to push myself. But, it was a half mile into that stretch that the uphill started to kick in. My calves from my big run a couple days before began to remember that uphill isn’t always fun. I could feel myself starting to shorten my stride as my internal coach kept encouraging me to keep on running, keep on running, keep on running in Dorie’s (Ellen’s) voice. When I made it to the end, I could feel my legs get happy again and my heart and breath began to even out. Pace on my Apple Watch: 9:44

Pushing into mile 3 I felt like a runner again but clearly feeling a bit more sluggish after the uphill.  I worked to open up my stride but my calves were tight. Even on a short downhill I couldn’t launch the way I had at the beginning of the race.  I watched as two of the women I was running with through mile 2 moved ahead of me by about 20 feet and I ultimately tried to hold that distance to keep me going. Heading past a cross point, I caught sight of Tom with his red baseball cap which gave me a little more momentum. Pace from my Apple Watch: 9:48

Seeing the 3 mile marker was awesome. Coming around the bend and catching sight of the clock was even better. I was floored when I saw the number. There was no way it could be correct. I picked up my pace a bit and dashed through the finish line without slowing down.

Live4Evan 5k Finish Line

I couldn’t be sure of my time. Was it really true? Rather than think about it I took a water, spotted Tom and we compared notes.

Finally, the waiting was over. Sitting in the local espresso bar having our coffee and breakfast, my phone had already notified me of our results.

I almost screamed.  A personal best!

Overall time: 30:15
Pace: 9:44
Female: 69/138
Female 40 – 49: 19/28

I shaved off 13 seconds on my pace and I’m pretty pleased that I’m in the middle of the pack overall, even if a bit slow for my age bracket. My other awesome sauce is that each mile, even during my awful uphill, was under a 10 min pace (although I can see my watch is a bit off). I’ve never done that before. I always creep back up to about 10:20 on the uphills.

Anyway, its 2 1/2 hours since the end of my race and I still have runners high. Maybe it is the results. Or, maybe it is the large iced Americano. Either way, I’m looking forward to the Wicked 5k on October 29. I just need to figure out what my costume will be…

Big shout out to my hubby, he had a personal best as well. At some point maybe I’ll catch up to him and we can run together. Here is his stats:

Overall time: 25:38
Pace: 8:11
Male: 60/136
Male 40 – 49: 6/18

Tom and I basking in the glow of the after run:

Live 4 Evan 5k 2017  Live 4 Evan 5k 2017

 

Everyone Should Have A Healthy Living Brag Board…Here’s Mine

So much has happened in the last three weeks and I’ve been quite the slacker sharing. (As such, first let me apologize for a very long blog.) Of course a blog is as much a brag board as it is a way to vent and get it all out there. So, let’s share.

It’s all too easy to get discouraged when your primary goal is losing weight. That burger you had when out with the girls that you shouldn’t have. The wing frenzy during Superbowl. Plateaus that feel like your body is just beating you back. If you only look at weight, then what will keep you motivated for the lifelong journey of healthy living that should keep your weight off.

It’s where I am now, pushing into maintenance mode and finding that by moving past worrying about weight, I’m more concerned with being able to stay active, do the things I want to do, enjoy my new body in the latest fashions, and most of all, try things I’d never done before.

Weekly Report MFP 8272017The big surprise is that I actually lost weight on my RV vacation. I honestly have no idea how or why it happened. The data isn’t helping me much to figure it out, but I’ll share my stats in the hope that someone smarter than me (got to be a lot of you out there) knows what I did right. This is last week’s chart from MyFitnessPal. The week before is about the same and I don’t have this weeks report yet. As a benchmark/context, I set my calories to 1050 per day regardless if I exercise or not.

Okay, here we go…

  • All the activity is the complete opposite of how I was: On past year vacations I have spend more time lounging in a beach chair, floating in the ocean, or cooking and eating than anything else. This vacation was filled with hikes and runs. Outside of vacation, Tom and I have gone biking 17 miles on the Minuteman Trail, kayak (Tom) and paddleboard (me)  together, and run the hills of Hopkinton since we’ve been back. And, even through I was sic for almost 3 days (for real – fever, vomiting, congestion, aches and sore throat), I got right back in the swing of things when I was well.
  • Climb every mountain: My favorite, even if killer challenging, was the fact that I was able to run mountains and hills on trails. The best part was when Tom talk me how my oldest son who met up with us in the Smoky Mountains saw me take off and asked, “Is she really going to run this?” And, Tom said proudly, “Yes!” And, I did. Why do it, because when you get to the top, unlike road running, it is absolutely okay to take a pause and look out at the view, you deserved it. Here is my triumph pic from the Shenandoah on Endless Caverns.IMG_0370IMG_0371IMG_0372
  • I was Rocky Balboa: Getting my daughter off to college this week was heartbreaking. While I’m so very proud of her, the house is so quite without Emily’s KPop, Pop music, and singing/dancing routine while doing dishes. There is no Emily popping her head in our room to say hi when getting home from work, or climbing in bed to watch a comedy show with me. Still, what got me through dropping her off at Temple this week was a brisk run to the art museum in Philadelphia and running the Rocky stairs. Imagine my amazement when what I thought was going to kill me was one of the easiest things I have done on my runs. Guess those mountain trail runs on vacation did the trick! Here is my view from the top of the stairs…
    IMG_0383
  • run 937Breaking through a 10 minute mile: Okay, so I only made it by 3 seconds. But, I had convinced myself that working on  speed wasn’t all that important. After all, my real passion has been trail running. Imagine my surprise after Tom and I had our first morning run together after three weeks (he didn’t run our whole vacation) and I looked at my stats and saw 9:57 avg for my 5k. Now, that is the flats. My average when including Hopkinton hills is 10:30. Today, not only did I go over 4 miles (I typically stay at 3- 3.5), but my average pace was 10:15 per mile. I shaved off 15 seconds. Not too shabby for a 48 year OLD lady.
  • Paddle boarding is awesome: In the try something new category I decided to ditch the kayak in favor of a paddle board. I have seen so many women on them this summer – on the ocean shore and lakes – that I was fascinated. It also took me back to my California days handing with friends that surfed as I opted for beach volleyball, and thinking that paddling your way on a surf board was way better than drowning under a wave (which I almost did). Anyway, today I paddle boarded and loved it! And, I did it in my OP bikini. Yes, I did!
  • 17 miles on the Minuteman Bike Trail: In the spirit of having an active weekend, Tom and I got our bikes out and hit the trail. While it was just a paved commuter bike trail and not at all what ‘real’ cyclists do, our round trip between Bedford and Arlington was so much fun. A short break along the way to stop in the Great Harvest Bread Co. for lunch for a dreamy Garden Veggie Sandwich on Seeded Wheat only made the ride better.
  • Another pair of my daughter’s jeans are mine: As Emily went to school and sorted through her clothes she handed me a pile of things she didn’t want anymore. What a gold mine! While I passed on the obviously teenage items, two pair of skinny jeans that are too small for her called my name. I just love them, and so does Tom! They hug me. The only issue, I still need a belt. It seems my waist is now 24 inches…
  • The weight loss: On August 5th I got on the scale before we left for vacation and I was 118 and change. I had resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t be able to do a weigh in for two weeks and was almost hysterical to lose my baby blanket. I honestly almost brought our low tech battery powered scale on the RV. But, Tom gave me enough looks and comments to shame me into realizing I was a nut job. Current weight as of this morning: 113.1 lbs. That’s 5.1 lbs in three weeks. Down 55.7 pounds in 8 months. Whaatt??
    scale 8 27 2017 30 days

The data chick in me attempts to break this down…

The reality is that except for two days of food avoidance this week because of my flu/cold, I have not really stayed within my calorie limit in the past three weeks. And yet, something about how I’ve been more active and increasing my eating has shocked my body to lose weight. Is dropping 5 pounds in three weeks healthy, NO! But, I did some thinking and whether this is right or wrong I think I must have upped my metabolism. So, I’m experimenting with raising my calorie threshold to 1200 and see how that goes. Will that slow down the weight loss and help me shed the last three pounds gradually by Thanksgiving? Will I remain the same? Or will I gain weight?

Anyway, now that I’m officially in maintenance mode, (toast) here is to understanding what maintenance mode looks like. Wish me luck. But, really, I’d rather you help me celebrate these bragging points. I am doing all the things that I had to give up because of my weight. I am loving my active summer. I am looking forward to this winter for skiing the bumps and snowshoeing the trails. In the near term, send me good vibes for 2 5k races coming up this fall. I really really really want to be under 30 minutes.

Ultimately, what this brag board should help with is less about bragging to all of you but be a reminder of what I accomplished not only with weight loss but with giving me back the life I love.

Cheers!

 

San Francisco Proved I’m Ready for a 5K

I did it! I logged 3.4 miles in a loop from my hotel, to the Embarcadero and back down Market In San Francisco this morning. Man did I feel good – from the runner high as well as the fact that I actually made it.

Getting my chubby girl body running outside has been a struggle to say the least. Old shoes left me with little cushion causing hip pain. Strength in my legs made moving from treadmill to road near impossible. And, I needed to get my cardio and stamina up so that my heart rate stayed lower than 140 (preferably in the 135 range) so as not to collapse.

Getting back to being a runner has been a big goal of mine and the frustration of taking what seems like forever (over 4 months)  only added to my impatience to feeling like I was truly healthy. What finally encouraged me was being able to stay on the elliptical for an hour, getting in some short trail runs on a cushier surface than pavement, and starting to do some squats, lunges and hip exercises for strength. It took a month of concerted effort, but I finally made it.

The best part, I ran a respectable time – 12 minute mile. And, to be honest, some of this was due to waiting for traffic lights and getting a little lost and needing to check in with my phone’s map. Not too shabby. I think I might actually make the under 30 club for a race.

My run was not without adventure. heading back on Market I took a turn after 4th between some buildings where I’d cut through before. It just had been a while ago and I couldn’t figure out where Howard was. Thus, it required checking in with my phone map. Lo and behold, I had a route, I forgot to adjust for walking. Let’s just say that this added not only distance, but also a tour of one of the seedier parts of town – down 6th. Let’s just say that for a little girl on her own early in the morning heading past homeless people and some sordid fellows, I was feeling a bit nervous. But, I did make it back to Market and checked my phone again to put me back on track.

In the end, I certainly needed to push myself a bit more than on a machine, so a Guns and Roses mix helped a lot. I also ran the flattest part of the city. We’ll see what happens when I get home and have to tackle Hopkinton’s hills. But, all in all, not a shabby day.

I can now say – I’m a runner again!